Jesus on the Way to Bethania. The Raising of Lazarus
As Jesus was tarrying in a little place near Samaria where too the Blessed Virgin and Mary Cleophas were come to spend the Sabbath, they received the news of Lazarus’ death. After this event, which happened in Bethania, his sisters left that place and went to their country house near Ginaea, with the intention of there meeting Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. The remains of Lazarus were embalmed and swathed in linen bands, according to the Jewish custom, and then laid in a coffin of woven rods with a convex cover. All the Apostles were again united around Jesus. They went in several bands to Ginaea, where Jesus taught in the synagogue and, after the closing exercises of the Sabbath, went out to Lazarus’ country house. There they found the Blessed Virgin, who had gone on before. Magdalen came to meet Jesus and to tell Him of her brother’s death, adding the words: “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died!” Jesus replied that his time was not yet come and that it was well that he had died. Still He told the two sisters to allow all the effects of their brother to remain at Bethania, for that He Himself would go there shortly. The holy women, therefore, set out for Bethania, while Jesus and the Apostles returned to Ginaea, from which they went to the inn one hour distant from Bethania. Here another messenger came to Him bearing the earnest request of the sisters that He should repair to Bethania, but He still delayed to go. He rebuked the disciples for their murmuring and impatience at His delaying so long to go to Bethania. He was always like one who could not give an account of His views and actions to them, because they did not understand Him. In His instructions to them He was always more desirous of discovering to them their own thoughts and, on account of their earthly mindedness, of arousing in them distrust of self than of informing them of the reasons of things that they could not comprehend. He still taught upon the laborers in the vineyard, and when the mother of James and John heard Him speak of the near fulfillment of His mission, she thought it only proper that His own relatives should have honorable posts in His Kingdom. She consequently approached Him with a petition to that effect, but He sternly rebuked her.
At last Jesus turned His steps to Bethania, continuing all along the way His instructions to the Apostles. Lazarus’ estate stood partly within the walls surrounding the environs of the city, and partly—that is, a portion of the garden and courtyard—outside those walls, which were now going to ruin.
Lazarus was eight days dead. They had kept him four days in the hope that Jesus would come and raise him to life. His sisters, as I have said, went to the country house near Ginaea, to meet Jesus; but when they found that He was still resolved not to go back with them, they had returned to Bethania and buried their brother. Their friends, men and women from the city and from Jerusalem, were now gathered around them, lamenting the dead as was the custom. It seems to me that it was toward evening when Mary Zebedeus went in to Martha, who was sitting among the women, and said to her softly that the Lord was coming. Martha arose and went out with her into the garden back of the house. There in an arbor was Magdalen sitting alone. Martha told her that Jesus was near, for through love for Magdalen, she wanted her to be the first to meet the Lord. But I did not see Magdalen go to Jesus, for when He was alone with the Apostles and disciples He did not allow women easy access to Him. It was already growing dusk when Magdalen went back to the women and took Martha’s place, who then went out to meet Jesus. He was standing with the Apostles and some others on the confines of their garden before an open arbor. Martha spoke to Jesus and then turned back to Magdalen, who also by this time had come up. She threw herself at Jesus’ feet, saying: “If Thou hadst been here, he would not have died!” All present were in tears. Jesus too mourned and wept, and delivered a discourse of great length upon death. Many of the audience, which was constantly increasing outside the bower, whispered to one another and murmured their dissatisfaction at Jesus’ not having kept Lazarus alive.
It seems to me that it was very early in the morning when Jesus went with the Apostles to the tomb. Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, and others, in all about seven women, were likewise there, as also a crowd of people which was constantly on the increase. Indeed the throng presented somewhat the appearance of a tumult, as upon the day of Christ’s Crucifixion. They proceeded along a road upon either side of which was a thick, green hedge, then passed through a gate, after which about a quarter of an hour’s distance brought them to the walled-in cemetery of Bethania. From the gate of the cemetery, a road led right and left around a hill through which ran a vault. The latter was divided by railings into compartments, and the opening at the end was closed by a grate. One could, from the entrance, see through the whole length of the vault and the green branches of the trees waving outside the opposite end. Light was admitted from openings above.
Lazarus’ tomb was the first on the right of the entrance to the vault, down into which some steps led. It was a four-cornered, oblong cave, about three feet in depth, and covered with a flat stone. In it lay the corpse in a lightly woven coffin, and around it in the tomb there was room for one to walk. Jesus with some of the Apostles went down into the vault, while the holy women, Magdalen, and Martha remained standing in the doorway. But the crowd pressed around so that many people climbed up on the roof of the vault and the cemetery walls in order to see. Jesus commanded the Apostles to raise the stone from the grave. They did so, rested it against the wall, and then removed a light cover or door that closed the tomb below that stone. It was at this point of the proceedings that Martha said: “Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days.” After that they took the lightly woven cover from the coffin, and disclosed the corpse lying in its winding sheet. At that instant Jesus raised His eyes to Heaven, prayed aloud, and called out in a strong voice: “Lazarus, come forth!” At this cry, the corpse arose to a sitting posture. The crowd now pressed with so much violence that Jesus ordered them to be driven outside the walls of the cemetery. The Apostles, who were standing in the tomb by the coffin, removed the handkerchief from Lazarus’ face, unbound his hands and feet, and drew off the winding sheet. Lazarus, as if waking from lethargy, rose from the coffin and stepped out of the grave, tottering and looking like a phantom. The Apostles threw a mantle around him. Like one walking in sleep, he approached the door, passed the Lord and went out to where his sisters and the other women had stepped back in fright as before a ghost. Without daring to touch him, they fell prostrate on the ground. At the same instant, Jesus stepped after him out of the vault and seized him by both hands, His whole manner full of loving earnestness.
And now all moved on toward Lazarus’ house. The throng was great. But a certain fear prevailed among the people; consequently the procession formed by Lazarus and his friends was not impeded in its movements by the crowd that followed. Lazarus moved along more like one floating than walking, and he still had all the appearance of a corpse. Jesus walked by his side, and the rest of the party followed sobbing and weeping around them in silent, frightened amazement. They reached the old gate, and went along the road bordered by verdant hedges to the avenue of trees from which they had started. The Lord entered it with Lazarus and His followers, while the crowd thronged outside, clamoring and shouting.
At this moment Lazarus threw himself prostrate on the earth before Jesus, like one about to be received into a Religious Order. Jesus spoke some words, and then they went on to the house, about a hundred paces distant.
Jesus, the Apostles, and Lazarus were alone in the dining hall. The Apostles formed a circle around Jesus and Lazarus, who was kneeling before the Lord. Jesus laid His right hand on his head and breathed upon him seven times. The Lord’s breath was luminous. I saw a dark vapor withdrawing as it were from Lazarus, and the devil under the form of a black winged figure, impotent and wrathful, clearing the circle backward and mounting on high. By this ceremony, Jesus consecrated Lazarus to His service, purified him from all connection with the world and sin, and strengthened him with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. He made him a long address in which He told him that He had raised him to life that he might serve Him, and that he would have to endure great persecution on the part of the Jews.
Up to this time, Lazarus was in his grave clothes, but now he retired to lay them aside and put on his own garments. It was at this moment that his sisters and friends embraced him for the first time, for before this there was something so corpselike about him that it inspired terror. I saw meanwhile that Lazarus’ soul, during the time of its separation from his body, was in a place peaceful and painless, lighted by only a glimmering twilight, and that while there he related to the just, Joseph, Joachim, Anne, Zachary, John, etc., how things were going with the Redeemer on earth.
By the Saviour’s breathing upon him, Lazarus received the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost and was perfectly freed from connection with earthly things. He received those gifts before the Apostles, for he had by his death become acquainted with great mysteries, had gazed upon another world. He had actually been dead, and he was now born again. He could therefore receive those gifts. Lazarus comprises in himself a deep significance and a profound mystery.
And now a meal was ready, and all reclined at table upon which were many dishes and little jugs. A man served. After the meal the women entered, but remained at the lower end of the hall, to hear the teachings of Jesus. Lazarus was sitting next Him. There was a frightful noise around the house, for many had come out from Jerusalem, even the guards, and were now besetting the house. But Jesus sent the Apostles out, to drive off both people and guards. Jesus continued His instruction till after lamplight, and told the disciples that He was going next morning with two Apostles to Jerusalem. When they placed before Him the danger attending such a step, He replied that He would not be recognized, that He would not go openly. I saw them afterward taking a little sleep, leaning around against the wall.
Before daybreak Jesus, accompanied by John and Matthew, who had girded up their garments somewhat differently from their usual custom, started from Bethania for Jerusalem. They went around the city and, taking byroads, reached the house in which later on the Last Supper was celebrated. There they remained quietly the whole day and the next night, Jesus instructing and confirming His friends of the city. I saw Mary Marcus and Veronica in the house, and fully a dozen men. Nicodemus, to whom the house belonged, but who had gladly resigned it for the use of Jesus’ friends, was not there. He had on that very day gone to Bethania to see Lazarus.
I saw also a gathering of Pharisees and High Priests who had come together to discuss Jesus and Lazarus. Among other things I heard them say that they feared Jesus would raise all the dead, and then what confusion would ensue!
At noon on that day, a great tumult arose in Bethania. If Jesus had been there, they would have stoned Him. Lazarus was obliged to hide, and the Apostles, to slip away in different directions. All the other friends of Jesus in Bethania were likewise forced to lie in concealment. Minds became calm, however, when people took into consideration that they had no right to take action against Lazarus.
Jesus passed the whole night till early next morning in the house on Mount Sion. Before day He left Jerusalem with Matthew and John and fled across the Jordan, not by the route He had formerly taken on the side of Bethabara, but by another off to the northeast. It may have been toward noon when He reached the opposite shore of the Jordan. That evening the Apostles from Bethania joined Him, and they spent the night under a great tree.
In the morning they started for a little village in the neighborhood, and on their way found a blind man lying on the roadside. He was in charge of two boys, who were not, however, related to him. He was a shepherd from the region of Jericho. He had heard from the Apostles that the Lord was coming that way, and he was now crying out to Him for a cure. Jesus laid His hand on his head, and the man received his sight. Then he cast off his old rags and, in his undergarment, followed Jesus to the village, where in a hall Jesus taught of following Him. He said that they who wanted to do so must, as the blind man did his rags, leave all, to follow Him with full use of their sight. A mantle was given to the man cured of blindness. He wanted to join Jesus at once, but he was put off till he should prove his constancy. Jesus taught here until nearly evening. There were about eight Apostles with Him.
After that, as He drew near a little city, Jesus was hungry. I could not help smiling at the thought of His being hungry, for Jesus’ hunger was very different from that of others. He was hungering after souls. From the last place that He had visited, some people who had not the right dispositions went with Him. On the roadside stood a fig tree that bore no fruit. Jesus went up to the tree and cursed it. It withered on the instant, its leaves turning yellow, and the trunk becoming crooked. Jesus taught in the school upon the sterile fig tree. There were some malevolent Doctors and Pharisees who invited Jesus to take His departure. A little stream spanned by a bridge ran by this place1 into the Jordan. The school was built on an eminence. Jesus and His party spent the night at an inn.
Jesus Begins the Journey Into the Land of the Three Holy Kings
Next day when Jesus and His companions left that last place, they took a northeasterly direction through the land of the tribe of Gad. I heard Jesus saying whither He was now about to journey. He told the Apostles and disciples that they should separate from Him, designated to them where they should and where they should not teach, and where they should again join Him. He was now, He said, about to make an extraordinary journey. He would spend the next Sabbath in Great Corozain, then go to Bethsaida, and from there to the south into the region of Machaerus and Madian. Thence He would proceed to where Agar had exposed Ismael,1 and Jacob had set up the ston. Then He would journey to the east around the Dead Sea and on to the place upon which Melchisedech had offered sacrifice before Abraham. On this site there stands today a chapel, in which Divine Service is sometimes celebrated. It is built of red stone, and overgrown with moss. Jesus declared His intention of going likewise to Heliopolis in Egypt, where He had once dwelt in childhood. There were some good people there who as children had played with Him, and who had not entirely forgotten Him. They were constantly asking what had become of Him, but they could not believe that He of whom they heard so much was the Child of their remembrance. He will return from the other side through Hebron and the valley of Josaphat, pass the place at which He had been baptized by John, and through the desert in which He had been tempted. He announced that His absence would be for about three months, and that His followers would be sure to find Him at the end of that time at Jacob’s Well near Sichar, though they might meet Him before that, when He would be returning through Judea. He gave them minute instructions in a long discourse, above all as to how they should during His absence conduct themselves in their missionary duties. I remember these words, that wherever they were not well received, they should shake the dust from their shoes.
Matthew returned home for awhile. He was a married man. His wife was a very virtuous person and, since Matthew’s vocation, they had lived in perfect continency. He was to teach in his own home, and quietly put up with the contempt of his former associates.
In Great Corozain, Jesus taught on the Sabbath in the synagogue. Peter, Andrew, and Philip were with Him. Toward noon a man from Capharnaum, who had been waiting for Jesus, approached Him, His son, he said, was sick unto death, and He implored the Lord to go with him and cure him. But Jesus commanded him to return home, for his son was already restored to health. There were many others gathered around Jesus, some belonging to the city, and others from a distance. Some were sick and looking for a cure, others were in search of consolation. He satisfied some at once, but to others He held out the promise of future assistance.
On the evening of that Sabbath, Jesus took leave of the inhabitants outside the synagogue, and proceeded with several of the Apostles up to where the Jordan empties into the sea, in order to cross to the other side. The ferry was higher up, and that made the journey much longer. Here they crossed on a kind of raft formed of beams laid one over another like a grating. In the center, on a raised platform, was a coop, or little half-tub into which the water could not penetrate, and there the baggage of the passengers was deposited. The raft was propelled by means of long poles. The shore of the Jordan was not very high in this place, and it seems to me there were some little islands lying around in this part of the river. I saw the Lord and the three Apostles travelling by moonlight. Outside of Bethsaida, as was customary at the entrance to the cities of Palestine, stood a long shed under which travelers used to ungird their garments and brush off the dust of travel before entering the city; generally some people were to be found there to wash their feet. This was the case on the arrival of the Lord and the Apostles, after which they repaired to Andrew’s, where they partook of a meal of honey, rolls, and grapes. Andrew was married, and his house was by no means a small one. It had a courtyard, was surrounded by walls, and was situated at one side of the city. Peter and Philip accompanied the Lord, but Andrew went on ahead. There were in all twelve men present at the meal, and at the end of it, six women came in to hear Jesus’ teaching. Next day, as He was leaving Bethsaida with the three Apostles, He paused for awhile in a house outside the city in which were all kinds of goods and chattels peculiar to fishing. A great many men were assembled there, and Jesus gave them an instruction. Setting out at last, He journeyed up the shore of the Jordan, crossed the bridge far above the ferry just mentioned, and proceeded through eastern Galilee to the land of Basan.
I saw in a region beyond the Jordan, a district covered with white sand and tiny white pebbles, several disciples in an open shepherd shed awaiting the Lord’s coming. They had brought with them three youths, tall and slim. While awaiting Jesus, the disciples had gathered yellow and green berries as large as figs, also little yellow apples that grew some on bushes, others on trees, from which they broke them off with chopping sticks. The road by which Jesus and the three Apostles came appeared to be not much frequented, for it was overgrown with long grass, and extended under an avenue of spreading fruit trees whose branches interlaced overhead. The Apostles broke off some of the fruit and put it into their pockets, but Jesus took none. He had travelled all night through mountainous districts. The disciples who had been awaiting His coming now went forward to meet Him. They pressed around Him with words of salutation, but without offering their hands. In front of the shed lay a long, broad, four-cornered log, around which Jesus and the others threw themselves in a reclining posture as at table, and before each was placed a portion of the fruit just gathered. They had brought with them also little jugs containing some kind of beverage. Off in the distance lay a city and behind it rose a mountain chain. I think this region was in the land of the Amorrhites. From this place the road again took a downward direction. I saw Jesus and His companions journeying the whole day and, in the evening, arriving at a little scattered village. On the roadside stood an inn. The travelers entered and were soon surrounded by a crowd of inquisitive people. They had not heard much of Jesus, but they were for the most part good and simple hearted. Jesus related to them the parable of the good shepherd, and then travelled on a short distance to another inn, at which He and His followers ate and slept. The Lord told the latter that He intended to go alone with the three youths through Chaldea and the land of Ur, Abraham’s birthplace, and thence through Arabia to Egypt. The disciples should scatter here throughout the district and instruct the inhabitants; as for Himself, He added, He would teach wherever He went. In fine He again told them that, at the end of three months, they would meet at the Well of Jacob near Sichar. I saw Simeon, Cleophas, and Saturnin among the disciples.
At dawn of day Jesus bade farewell to the Apostles and disciples, to each of whom He extended His hand. They were very much troubled at His taking with Him only the three youths. These youths were from sixteen to eighteen years old and very different from the Jews. They were more slender and active, and wore long garments. They were like children to Jesus, whom they waited on most affectionately. Whenever they came to water, they washed His feet. They ran off on the road here and there, and came back with little rods, flowers, fruits, and berries. Jesus instructed them most lovingly and explained to them in parables all that had happened up to that time. The parents of these youths belonged to the family of Mensor. They had come to Palestine with the caravan of the Three Kings and, at the departure of the same for home, had remained behind among the shepherds in the Valley of the Shepherds. They became Jews, married the daughters of the shepherds, and came into possession of meadow lands between Samaria and Jericho. The youngest of the youths was named Eremenzear and later on was called Hermas. He was the boy whom Jesus, at the prayer of his mother, had cured in the region of Sichar, after His interview with the Samaritan at Jacob’s Well. The next one was Sela, or Silas; and the eldest, Eliud, received in Baptism the name of Siricius. They were called, also, the secret disciples, and at a later period they were associated with Thomas, John, and Paul. Eremenzear wrote an account of this journey.
On this journey, Jesus wore a brownish tunic, knitted or woven, that fell around Him in folds long and full; over that He had a long garment of fine white wool with wide sleeves. It was fastened at the waist by a broad girdle of the same material as the scarf that He wound around His head when sleeping. Jesus was taller than the Apostles. Walking or standing, His fair, grave face rose above them. His step was firm, His bearing erect. He was neither thin nor stout, but nobly formed with an appearance of perfect health. His shoulders were broad, and His chest well developed. Exercise and travelling had strengthened His muscles, although they presented no sign of hard labor.
The road taken by Jesus and the youths after parting from the Apostles was a constantly ascending one in a direction toward the East, over a white, sandy soil and through cedars and date trees. Opposite arose the mountains of Galaad. Jesus wanted to spend the coming Sabbath in the last Jewish city met in this direction. I think it was called Cedar. Jesus and the youths ate on the way the fruits of the trees and berries. The youths carried pouches filled with little rolls, jugs containing some kind of drink, and staves. The Lord sometimes broke off a staff for Himself from a tree in passing, and again cast it aside. His feet, otherwise bare, were protected by sandals. In the evening they went to some solitary house occupied by rude, simple people, and there slept for the night. Jesus nowhere made Himself known, although He everywhere taught in beautiful parables of all kinds, but principally in those relating to the good shepherd. The people questioned Him about Jesus of Nazareth, but He did not tell that it was Himself. He in turn put questions to them concerning their work, their business affairs, so that they concluded He was a travelling shepherd looking around after good pasture lands, as was often the case in Jewish countries. I did not see Him effect any cure nor work any miracle in these parts. Next morning He journeyed on. He may now have still been some miles from Cedar, which was built on rising ground, the mountain chain behind it. Abraham’s fatherland was in this direction, but far off toward the northeast; the land of the Three Kings was toward the southeast.
Some of the disciples had returned to their homes, while others had scattered around the country teaching. Zacheus of Jericho accompanied them awhile, after which he returned home, gave up his business, sold all that he had, bestowed the proceeds upon the poor, and went with his wife (with whom he henceforth lived in continency) to another place. The Lord told the disciples that nine weeks would pass before they should join Him again.
The excitement in Jerusalem on account of Lazarus was very great. Jesus absented Himself during it, that people might lose sight of Him, while the conviction of the truth of this miracle disposed many to conversion. When Jesus returned He was very thin. There is no written account of this journey, since no Apostle accompanied the Lord on it; perhaps too the Apostles did not even know of all the places in which He had been. As well as I remember, I then saw this road for the first time.
Jesus journeyed on with His three young companions to the southeast, taking byways most frequently, and spending the night, like the preceding one among the shepherds, in a solitary house. The people of these parts were good and artless. They gazed at Jesus in wonder, and loved Him at once. He related to them many of the parables He was accustomed to use in Judea, and to them they listened with delight. But He neither healed nor blessed. When they asked Him about Jesus of Nazareth, He answered by telling them about those that had quitted all to follow Him, and then passed to parables that explained what He had said. The people thought He was a shepherd looking around for herds or meadows.
Jesus in Cedar
Jesus and the youths reached Cedar before the Sabbath. They had not travelled by the highroad, but by roundabout ways. As it was too late to enter the city, they passed the night at a large public inn at which other wayfarers had sought shelter. There were open sheds with sleeping accommodations in the enclosure, and the whole was surrounded by a courtyard. A man, the one that superintended the establishment, unlocked the inn, after which he returned to the city. Next morning, he came out again to the inn, and then received a small sum for his services. The travelers went their several ways, but the superintendent took Jesus and His companions back with him to his own house in the city. Cedar was situated at the foot of a mountain, in a valley through which flowed a river. It consisted of an old and a new city separated by the little river which flowed from the east and off toward Palestine. The shore was very steep, and the river was spanned by two arches very solidly built. On this side the place was poor and insignificant, and inhabited principally by Jewish shepherds who likewise engaged in the manufacture of light huts, shepherd and stable utensils. On the opposite side, Cedar presented a more opulent appearance. There were no Jews there, but only heathens. The Jewish costume was somewhat modified here, for some of the people wore a pointed cap. In the city this side of the river, there was a synagogue, and upon a square surrounded by grass plots and walks of clean white sand, played a fountain. This was the most beautiful spot in the city.
The Lord and the boys went with their host to the synagogue, and quietly celebrated the Sabbath. At the end of the prayers, Jesus asked whether He might venture to relate something to them, and when the good people showed their willingness to listen, He recounted the parable of the Prodigal Son. They listened attentively, admired Him greatly, but knew not who He was. He called Himself a shepherd seeking the lost lambs in order to lead them into good pasture. They regarded Him as a Prophet and, during the rest of the day, conducted Him to their houses where too He taught. The next day He gave an instruction at the fountain. The men and women sat at His feet, and He pressed the children to His breast. He told them about Zacheus climbing up the fig tree, of his leaving all and following Him; of him who in the Temple had said: “I thank God that I am not like the publican”; and lastly, of that other who, striking his breast, said: “Lord, be merciful to me, a poor sinner!” The inhabitants of Cedar became very fond of Jesus and thought no harm of Him. They begged Him to stay with them till the next Sabbath and then teach again in their school, and when they asked Him about Jesus of Nazareth, He related to them many things of Him and His doctrine.
On leaving this place, Jesus and His travelling companions proceeded eastward from Cedar into a country of beautiful meadowlands and palm trees, and thence to Edon. On the way, He visited a house that stood off by itself, and in which both the father and mother of the family had long been bedridden with incurable maladies. Several children were going and coming around the house. All were good. Here also they asked Him about Jesus of Nazareth, of whom they had heard divers reports. Jesus answered them in a beautiful parable of a king and his son, in which he spoke of the One of whom they inquired. He told them that He would be persecuted, and that He would return to His Father’s Kingdom, which He would share with all those that had followed Him. As Jesus spoke I had a vision of His Passion, His Ascension, His throne surrounded by all the angels and set next His Father’s, meaning His dominion over the world; and, lastly, I saw the reward portioned out to His followers. I saw likewise the vision of His Kingdom and the whole parable that He was relating to the people, and I saw too that He impressed upon their hearts a lasting picture of it. When He asked them whether they believed all He had told them and whether they would follow the good King, and they had protested their belief and their willingness, He promised the two old people that God would reward them by curing them and allowing them to follow Him to Edon. And all on a sudden, they were restored to health and, to the astonishment of the beholders, were indeed able to follow Jesus to Edon. The man’s name was Benjamin, and he was a direct descendant from Ruth. I think that Titus was either a son or a relative of this couple so suddenly cured. He was at that time between fourteen to sixteen years old. He went to Cedar and to every other place in this region in which Jesus taught, in order to hear Him and to listen to others talking about Him. Marcus, whose birthplace was nearer Judea, was acquainted with this family, and so too was Silas.
Jesus and the three youths, on leaving that house, went on to Edon through lovely fields and meadows shaded by palm trees. Jesus carried a shepherd’s crook in His right hand. In the public feast house, on a large, open square to the left of the entrance to the city, a marriage was being celebrated. The house contained a large hall, at the end of which was the kitchen. All around it were sleeping apartments, in each of which there were three beds that could be separated from one another by an ornamented screen. Although it was clear daylight, a lamp was burning in the hall. The guests, male and female, as also the bride and bridegroom, adorned with flowery wreaths, were all assembled in the same apartment. Boys were singing and playing upon flutes and other instruments. These pious people were awaiting Jesus, whom they looked upon as a Prophet. They had heard of His teaching and parables in Cedar and the surrounding district, and had in consequence invited Him to their wedding. They received Him joyfully and reverently, washed His feet and those of His young companions, and dried them with their own garments. They took from Jesus His staff, placed it in a corner, and prepared for Him a table. On it were some little rolls, a honeycomb almost a foot in length, and some red berries from the top of which they detached before eating a little circle of black leaves tipped with white. There were, too, little earthen jugs and cups on the table and some small dishes. The last mentioned looked like glazed earthenware, out of which with little spoons they put something into their drink. The guests reclined at table upon small leaning benches, and to Jesus was given the seat between the bridegroom and the bride. The women sat at the lower end. Jesus blessed the food and drink, of which all then partook.
During the meal, Jesus taught. He told the guests about that Man in Judea who, at the marriage of Cana in Galilee, had changed water into wine. When the couple whom the guests had known so long as sick, but who had been restored to health, made their appearance, the amazement was great. They related all that the Lord had told them of the King and His Kingdom, declared their belief in it, and said that they were as certain of having a share in that same Kingdom as they were now conscious of the fact of having been cured. Jesus repeated to them the parable and told them in plain words that there was still a wall between them and the dominions of that King, but that they could force their way through it if they would overcome themselves. It was morning before the party retired to bed. The Lord and the young boys slept back of the dining hall. Before He lay down, however, He went aside and, kneeling, prayed with uplifted hands to His Heavenly Father. I saw streams of light issuing from His mouth, and another stream of light, or an angelic form, descending toward Him. This often happened even in full daylight when at any time Jesus retired to a solitary place to pray. I knew this about Him even in my childhood, and when I saw Him praying thus alone, I tried to imitate Him. I saw the Blessed Virgin, up to the conception of the Saviour, generally standing in prayer, her hands crossed on her breast, and her eyes lowered; but after the most holy Incarnation, she generally knelt, her face raised to Heaven, and her hands uplifted.
Next morning, on account of the great concourse of people, Jesus taught in the open air. He settled many matrimonial affairs, for the people of this place had lost the true conception of the Law on that head. They wanted to espouse two blood relatives in succession, and they questioned Jesus on the matter. He explained to them that it was not allowed by the Mosaic Law, and they promised to refrain from such unions. It was told Jesus also that in one of the neighboring places, a certain man was on the point of marrying for the sixth time, his five deceased wives being sisters of the present affianced. Jesus said that He would visit that place. He returned to Cedar for the Sabbath, and taught the whole day in the school. He gave decisions upon many questions and doubts concerning the Law and marriage and reconciled some married couples that were at variance.
Jesus Goes to Sichar-Cedar and Teaches Upon the Mystery of Marriage
From Cedar, Jesus, with a numerous escort, wended His way northward, the country everywhere presenting a more level aspect. I saw them reach a shepherd village outside of which were open sheds, long rows of trees with interlacing branches, and huts formed of green boughs and leaves. Under one of the sheds, all partook of figs, grapes, and dates. They were still there, the night being mild and lovely, when the stars shone out in the sky and the dewdrops glittered brightly below.
When the rest of the party dispersed to their homes, Jesus with the three youths went around the district teaching, and arrived toward evening of the following day at the little city of Sichar-Cedar, built on the declivity of a mountain range. Some people came out to meet Him. They conducted Him to the public house of the city, which was something like that of Cana in Galilee, and there He found a crowd assembled. Some young married people had lost their parents by a sudden death, and they were now entertaining at this house all those who had followed the remains to the grave. In front of the house was a courtyard enclosed by a railing, and in it an arbor of skillfully woven foliage. In each of the four corners stood a stone cistern full of water out of which grew creeping plants. They were trained up on palings and then allowed to run on arches to the center of the yard, where a carved column of marble supported the verdant roof thus formed. The plants, like reeds or sedges, retained their freshness a long time. This decoration, as well as all the gar-lands that adorned the house, was of extraordinary beauty. In a hall just off the courtyard, Jesus’ feet and those of His companions were washed, and the customary refreshments presented. Then they went to another apartment, in which a meal was in readiness. Jesus insisted upon serving at table. He handed to all the guests bread, fruit, and large pieces of honeycomb, and poured from jugs into the drinking cup of each three kinds of beverage: one was a green juice; another, some kind of yellow drink; and the third, a perfectly white fluid. Jesus taught all the time. Sichar-Cedar was the place of which Jesus had been told at the wedding feast that so many were living there in unlawful marriage relations.
Only the husband of the mourning married couple was present at the funereal feast. He was named Eliud. He had been at the marriage feast at Edon, and on his return home found that both his parents-in-law had departed this life. They had died suddenly, overcome by grief at the discovery that their daughter, Eliud’s wife, was an adulteress. Eliud himself had no intimation of the fact, nor consequently of the cause of the sudden death of his parents-in-law. When the meal spoken of above was over, Jesus allowed Himself to be conducted by Eliud to his home. The youths did not go with Him. Jesus spoke to the wife in private. She was in great sorrow. She sank at His feet in tears, and confessed her sin. When Jesus left her, Eliud conducted Him to His sleeping chamber. I saw the Lord saying some grave and touching words to him and, when Eliud left Him, He prayed awhile and then went to rest. Early next morning Eliud, with a washbasin and a green branch, went in to Jesus, who was still lying on the bed supported on His arm, He arose; Eliud washed His feet and dried them in his own garments. Then the Lord told him to conduct Him to his chamber, for that He wanted in turn to wash his feet. Eliud would not hear of this. But Jesus told him gravely that if he would not yield, He would instantly leave his house, that it must be, that if he wanted to follow Him he must not refuse to obey. On hearing these words, Eliud led Jesus to his bedchamber and brought Him a basin of water. Jesus grasped him by the hands, gazed lovingly into his eyes, said a few words on the subject of foot washing, and then informed him that his wife was an adulteress, but penitent, and that he must pardon her. At this information Eliud fell prostrate on the ground, writhing and weeping in an excess of mental agony. Jesus turned away from him and prayed. After a little while, the first bitter struggle being over, Jesus went to him, raised him from the ground, spoke words of consolation to him, and washed his feet. When Eliud had become calm, Jesus commanded him to call his wife. He did so, and she entered the room closely veiled. Jesus took her hand, laid it in that of Eliud, blessed them both, consoled them, and raised the wife’s veil. Then He dismissed them with directions to send their children to Him, whom when they came He blessed and led back to their parents. From this time forward Eliud and his wife remained faithful to each other, and both made a vow of continency. On that same day, Jesus visited many other homes in order to lead their occupants from the error of their ways. I saw Him going from house to house, conversing with the people upon their various affairs and thus winning their confidence.
On the mountain near this place, Sichar-Cedar, there were whole rows of beehives. The declivity of the mountain was terraced, and on the terraces resting against the mountain stood numerous square, flat-roofed beehives about seven feet in height, the upper part ornamented with knobs. They were placed in several rows, one above the other. They were not rounded in the back, but pointed like a roof, and they could be opened from top to bottom on the shelf side. The whole apiary was enclosed by a fine trellis of woven reeds. Between these stacks of hives there were steps leading up to the terraces, and to the railings on either side, bushes bearing white blossoms and berries were trained. One could mount from terrace to terrace, upon each of which were similar arrangements for bees.
When Jesus was asked by the people whence He had come He invariably answered in parables, to which they gave simple-hearted credence. Under the bower of the public house He delivered an instruction, in which He related the parable of the king’s son who came to discharge all the debts of his subjects. His hearers took the parable in its literal sense and rejoiced greatly over what it promised. Jesus then turned to the parable of the debtor who, after having obtained a delay for the payment of his own great debt, insisted upon bringing before the judge the man that owed him a trifle. He told them also that His Father had given Him a vineyard which had to be cultivated and pruned, and that He was looking for laborers to replace the useless, lazy servants whom He was going to chase away, and who were mete images of the branches they had neglected to prune. Then He explained to them the cutting away of the vine stock, spoke of the quantity of useless wood and foliage, and of the small number of grapes. To this He compared the hurtful elements that had, through sin, entered into man. These, He said, should be cut off and destroyed by the exercise of mortification in order that fruit might be produced. This led to some words on marriage and its precepts, as well as upon the modesty and propriety to be observed in it, after which He returned to the vine and told the people that they too ought to cultivate it. They replied quite innocently that the country was not adapted to vine culture. But Jesus responded that they ought to plant it on that side of the mountain occupied by the apiary, for that was an excellent exposure for it, and then He related a parable treating of bees. The people expressed their readiness to labor in His vineyard, if He would allow them. But He told them that He had to go and discharge the debts, that He had to see that the true vine was put into the wine press, in order to produce a life-giving wine, and to teach others how to cultivate and prepare the same. The simple-hearted people were troubled at the thought of His going away, and implored Him to remain with them. But He consoled them by saying that if they believed Him, He would send them one who would make them laborers in His vineyard. I saw that the inhabitants of this little place were afterward baptized by Thaddeus, and that all emigrated during a persecution.
Jesus recalled none of the Prophecies, performed no miracles in this place. In spite of their moral disorders, these people were simple and childlike. Married couples living apart were again united by Jesus, and He explained to the man who, after having married five sisters was now about to espouse the sixth, that such unions were unlawful.
Jesus gave another instruction upon marriage. He illustrated His subject by deeply significant similitudes taken from the cultivation of the vine, the care of the vineyard, and the pruning away of the superfluous branches. I was particularly impressed by His remarkable and clearly convincing words to this effect, that wherever discord reigned in the married state and wherever marriage failed to produce good, pure fruit, the fault lay principally on the wife’s side. It is for her to endure and to suffer, it is for her to form, to preserve, the fruit of marriage. By her spiritual labors and victories over self, she can perfect her own soul and the fruit of her womb, she can eradicate whatever evil there may be in it, since her whole conduct, all her actions, redound to the blessing or the ruination of her offspring. In marriage there should be no question of sensual gratification, but only of penance and mortification, of constant fear, of constant warfare against sin and sinful desires, and this warfare is best carried on by prayer and self-conquest. Such struggles against self, such victories over self on the mother’s part, secure similar victories to her children. All this instruction was given by the Lord in words as wonderful for their significance as for their simplicity. He said many other things, clear and precise, on the same subject. I was so impressed by the truth of what He said and its great necessity that the thought rushed impetuously to my mind: Why is not all this put in writing! Why is there no disciple present who could write it all down, that people far and wide might know it? For in the whole of this vision I was, as it were, present among Jesus’ audience, and I followed Him here and there. As I was so earnestly revolving that thought, my Heavenly Bridegroom turned and addressed me in words to this effect: “I rouse charity, I cultivate the vineyard wherever it will best produce fruit. Were these things written down, they would suffer the fate of so many other writings, they would fall into oblivion, or be misinterpreted, or utterly condemned. The words that I have just spoken, as well as innumerable others that have never been written, will become more productive in effects than what has been preserved in writing. It is not the written Law that is obeyed; but they that believe, hope, and love, have everything written in their heart.” The way in which Jesus taught all this, the constant use of parables by which He illustrated from the nature of the vine all that He said of marriage and, on the other hand, the borrowing from marriage apt illustrations of the cultivation of the vine—all was inexpressibly beautiful and convincing. The people questioned the Lord most simply, and He gave them answers that showed still more clearly how perfectly His similitudes explained His doctrine.
At noon the nuptial ceremony between a poor young couple took place in front of the synagogue, and at it Jesus assisted. Both were good and innocent, consequently the Lord was very kind to them. The bridal procession to the synagogue was headed by little boys of six years with wreaths on their heads and flutes in their hands, white-robed maidens carrying little baskets of flowers which they strewed on the ground, and youths playing on harps, triangles, and other musical instruments now little known. The bridegroom was dressed almost like a priest. Both he and the bride were attended by assistants who, during the ceremony, laid their hands on their shoulders. The marriage was performed by a Jewish priest, in a hall whose roof had been opened just above the bridal party. It was near the synagogue. When the stars began to appear in the sky, the Sabbath exercises were celebrated in the synagogue, after which a fast that lasted until the next evening was begun. When that was over, the wedding festivities were held in the public house used on such occasions, during which Jesus related many parables, such as that of the Prodigal Son and the mansions in His Father’s house. The bridegroom had no house of his own. He was to make his home in that belonging to the mother of his bride, Jesus told him that, until he should receive a mansion in His Father’s house, he should take up his abode under a tent in the vineyard which He Himself was going to layout on the mount of the bees. Then He again taught on marriage, upon which He dwelt for a long time. If married people, He said, would live together modestly and chastely, if they would recognize their state as one of penance, then would they lead their children in the way of salvation, then would their state become not a means of diverting souls from their end, but one that would reap a harvest for those mansions in His Father’s house. In this instruction, Jesus called Himself the Spouse of a bride in whom all those that should be gathered, would be born again. He alluded to the marriage feast of Cana, and told of the changing of water into wine. He always spoke of Himself in the third person, as of that Man in Judea whom He knew so well, who would be so bitterly persecuted, and who would finally be put to death.
The people heard all this in simple, childlike faith, and the parables were for them real facts. The bridegroom appeared to be a school teacher, for Jesus told him how he should teach by his own example. Jesus made allusion also to Ishmael, for Cedar and the country around were peopled by his descendants. They were, for the most part, shepherds, and esteemed themselves inferior to the people of Judea, of whom they spoke as of a very great nation, a chosen race. They still clung to the ancient manner of living. The owner of numerous herds lived in a large house surrounded by a moat, and in the midst of the pasture grounds by which it was encompassed stood the houses of the under-shepherds. To the well, which belonged to the head proprietor, only his own herds had a right to go, though those of his neighbors enjoyed the same privilege if there existed an agreement to that effect. Such patriarchal settlements were scattered thickly here and there, though otherwise the place was of little importance.
Moved thereto by Jesus’ words, the people determined to build for the newly married pair a light habitation on the bee mount where, later on, the vineyard was to be laid out. Every friend in the place constructed for the tent a light wicker wall which was then covered with skins, and afterward coated with something of a viscid nature. When a piece of the work was finished, it was transported to the site for which it was destined. Each one did what was in his power, some more, some less, and they shared with one another whatever was needed. The Lord told them how all was to be done, and they listened in wonder at His knowing so much about such things. He had taught them at the marriage feast that the old and the poor should take the upper places. Jesus went with the people to the little hill in front of the bee mountain, in order to choose there the best site for the vineyard. The back of the tent was to rest against the rising ground of the vineyard. As the Feast of the New Moon just now began, all returned with Jesus to the public house. He knew that, when He said that they should build a house for the newly married pair, many had thought and said to one another: “Perhaps He has no house of His own, no place of abode. Will He, perhaps, take up His residence with these people?” Therefore it was that Jesus now told them that He was not going to stay among them, that He had no abiding place on this earth, that His Kingdom was yet to come, that He had to plant His Father’s vineyard, and water it with His Blood upon Mount Calvary. They could not now comprehend His words, He said, but they would do so after He had watered the vineyard. Then He would come back to them from a dark country. He would send His messengers to call them, and then they would leave this place and follow Him. But when He should come again for the third time, He would lead into His Father’s Kingdom all those who had faithfully labored in the vineyard. Their sojourning here was not to be long, therefore the house they were building was to be a light one, rather a tent that could be easily removed. Jesus next gave a long instruction upon mutual charity. They should, He said, cast their anchor in the heart of their neighbor, that the storms of the world might not separate and destroy them. He spoke again in parables of the vineyard, saying that He would remain only long enough to layout the vineyard for the newly married pair and teach them to plant the vines, then He would depart in order to cultivate that belonging to His Father. Jesus taught all these things in language so simple, and yet so nicely adapted to the point in question, that His hearers became more and more convinced of its truth, retaining at the same time their simplicity. He taught them to recognize in all nature, in life itself, a law hidden and holy, though now disfigured by sin. The instruction lasted till late into the night, and when Jesus wanted to take leave of them, the people detained Him. They clasped Him in their arms, exclaiming: “Explain it all to us again, that we may understand it better.” But He replied that they should practice what He had preached to them, and He promised to send them one who would make it all clear to them. During this assembly they partook of a slight repast, at which all drank out of the same cup.
The young man for whom the Lord had caused the house to be built was named Salathiel, and the bride’s name was a word that signified “pretty,” or “brunette.”1 With the greater part of the inhabitants of the place, they were baptized by Thaddeus. The Evangelist Mark also was in this region for awhile. Thirty-five years after Christ’s Ascension, Salathiel with his wife and three grown-up sons removed to Ephesus. I saw him there in company with the goldsmith Demetrius, who had once raised an insurrection against Paul, but who was afterward converted. Demetrius gave him a long account of Paul, and narrated the history of his conversion. Paul was not then at Ephesus. Salathiel, his three sons, and “Braunchen,” or “Feinchen.” Demetrius went to join him, while the wife of the first-named remained behind at Ephesus in a house to which many from her own country came and resided with her. Almost all the Jews left Ephesus at this time. Salathiel and his three sons, Demetrius, Silas, and a man named Caius were all in the same ship with Paul when he suffered shipwreck near the island of Malta, and they went with him to the island. From his prison in Rome, Paul assigned to each of the three sons of Salathiel the place in which he was to labor.
When Jesus went with the men to the bee mount, in order to show them how to plant the vines, the site for the tent house was already marked off and an espalier erected. The men told Jesus that grapes raised in those parts were always bitter, to which Jesus responded that that was because they belonged to a poor species. They were of a bad stock, they were allowed to run wild without pruning; consequently they had the appearance only of grapes, without their sweetness. But, He added, those that He was now about to plant would be sweet. The instruction turned again upon marriage which, Jesus said, could produce pure, sweet fruit only when it was guarded by self-command, mortification, and moderation united to pain and labor.
From the young plants that He had ordered to be brought to the spot, Jesus chose five, which He laid in the ground that He had Himself previously loosened, and He showed the men how to bind them to the espalier in the form of a cross. All that He said while thus engaged of the nature and training of the vine referred to the mystery of marriage and the sanctification of its fruit. When Jesus continued this instruction in the synagogue, He spoke of the obligation of continency in order to conception and, as a proof of the same, brought forward the depth of corruption into which men had fallen in this particular. Man, He said, might in this respect learn a lesson from the elephant. (There were a few of these animals in that region). At the close of the instruction Jesus repeated that He must now soon leave them, in order to plant and water the vine on Mount Calvary, but He would send some to teach them all things and to lead them into His Father’s vineyard. When at the same time He spoke of the Kingdom and the mansions of His Father, the people asked Him why He had brought nothing with Him from that Kingdom and why He went about so poorly clad. Jesus answered that that Kingdom was reserved for such as followed Him, and that no one would receive it without deserving it. He was, He said, a stranger seeking for faithful servants whom He might call into the vineyard. He had therefore built the bridegroom’s house so lightly because the earth was not to be a permanent abode for his posterity and they were not to cling to it. Why should a solid habitation be constructed for the body, since it is itself only a fragile vessel? It should indeed be cared for and purified as the house of the soul, as a sacred temple, but it should not be polluted, or to the prejudice of the soul either overburdened or treated too delicately. From such discourse Jesus turned again to the house of His Father, to the Messiah, and all the signs by which He might be recognized. Among the latter He mentioned the fact that He was to be born of an illustrious race, though of simple, pious parents, and added that, according to the signs of the time, He must have already come. They should, Jesus said, attach themselves to Him and observe His teachings.
Jesus next taught on the love of the neighbor and good example. Turning to the bridegroom Salathiel, He told him to allow his house to stand open, to have perfect confidence in what He had said to him, and to live piously; if he did so, God would guard his house for him and nothing would be stolen from him. Salathiel had received for his new house far more than was actually needed, for Jesus had inveighed against selfishness. They must, He said, be willing to sacrifice for God and the neighbor. The communication between Jesus and these people became more and more intimate and, in order to rescue them from the ignorance into which they had fallen, He taught under manifold similitudes upon the chastity, modesty, and self-conquest that should grace the married state. The similitudes referred to the sowing and the harvest. He went also to visit two parties who were about to marry notwithstanding their relationship to each other in prohibited degrees. One couple were blood relatives. Jesus summoned them into His presence and told them that their design sprang from the desire of temporal goods, and that it was not lawful. They were terrified on finding that He knew their thoughts, for no one had said anything to Him about it; so they relinquished their intention. Here they washed one another’s feet, and the bride wiped Jesus’ feet with the end of her veil, or the upper part of her mantle. Both the man and the woman recognized Jesus by His teaching as more than a Prophet. They were converted and followed Him. Jesus next went out to a house in the country, in which lived a stepmother who wanted to marry her stepson, though the latter as yet did not clearly comprehend her design. Jesus made known to the son the danger in which he was, and bade him flee from the place and go labor at Salathiel’s, which he obediently did. The Lord washed his feet also. The stepmother, whom Jesus gravely rebuked for her guilt, was greatly exasperated. She did no penance and went to perdition.
The people of this region must have had, through their ancestors, some special relations with the Ark of the Covenant. They asked Jesus what had become of the Holy Mystery contained in the Ark. He answered that mankind had received so much of It, that It had now passed into them, and that from the fact that it was no longer to be found, they might conclude that the Messiah was born. Many people of this country believed that the Messiah was put to death among the Holy Innocents.
Jesus Raises a Dead Man to Life
About one hour to the east of Sichar stood the dwelling of a rich herd proprietor. The house was surrounded by a moat. The owner had died suddenly in a field not far from his house, and his wife and children were in great affliction. The remains were ready for interment, and the family had sent messengers into the city to beg the Lord and some others to come to the funeral. Jesus went, accompanied by His three disciples, Salathiel and his wife, and several others—about thirty in all. The corpse, ready for the grave, was placed in a broad avenue of trees before the house. The man had been struck dead in punishment of his sins, for he had seized upon part of the possessions of some shepherds who, owing to his oppressive treatment, were obliged to leave that section of the country. Shortly after the commission of this sin, he had fallen dead upon the very ground that he had unjustly appropriated. Standing in front of the corpse, Jesus spoke of the deceased. He asked of what advantage was it to him now that he had once pampered and served his body, that house which his soul had now to leave. He had, on account of that body, run his soul into debt which he neither had and which he never could discharge. The wife of the deceased was plunged in grief. She had constantly repeated before Jesus’ coming: “If the Jewish King from Nazareth were here, He could raise him from the dead!” In reply to these words, Jesus said: “Yes, the Jewish King can do it. But men will persecute Him on that account. They will kill Him who gives life, and they will refuse to acknowledge Him!” To which those around responded: “If He were among us, we would acknowledge Him!”
Jesus resolved to put them to the test. He spoke of faith, and promised that the Jewish King would help them, provided they believed and practiced all that He taught. Then He separated the family of the deceased along with Salathiel and his wife from the rest of the assistants, whom He directed to withdraw, while He spoke with the wife, the daughter, and the son of the dead man. Even before the others had gone out, the wife had addressed these words to Jesus: “Lord, Thou speaketh as if Thou Thyself wert the King of the Jews!” But Jesus had motioned her to be silent. When now those others, whom He knew to be weaker in faith, had retired, Jesus told the family that if they would believe in His doctrine, if they would follow Him, and if they would keep silence upon the matter, He would raise the dead man to life, for his soul was not yet judged, it was still tarrying in the field, the scene of its injustice as well as of its separation from the body. The family promised with all their heart both obedience and silence, and Jesus went with them to the field in which the man had died. I saw the state in which the soul of the deceased was. I saw it in a circle, in a sphere above the spot upon which he had died. Before it passed pictures of all its transgressions with their temporal consequences, and the sight consumed it with sorrow. I saw too all the punishments it was to undergo, and it was vouchsafed a view of the satisfactory Passion of Jesus. Torn with grief, it was about to enter upon its punishment, when Jesus prayed, and called it back into the body by pronouncing the name Nazor, the name of the deceased. Then turning to the assistants, He said: “When we return, we shall find Nazor sitting up and alive!” I saw the soul at Jesus’ call floating toward the body, becoming smaller, and disappearing through the mouth, at which moment Nazor rose to a sitting posture in his coffin. I always see the human soul reposing above the heart from which numerous threads run to the head.
When Jesus and His companions returned to the house they found Nazor, still enveloped in his funereal bands and his hands bound, sitting up in the coffin. His wife unbound his hands and loosened the bands. He stepped forth from the coffin, cast himself at Jesus’ feet, and tried to embrace His knees. But the Lord drew back and told him that he should purify himself, should wash, and remain concealed in his chamber, that he should not speak of his resurrection until He Himself had left that region. The wife then led her husband into a retired corner of the dwelling, where he washed and clothed himself. Jesus, Salathiel and his wife, and the three disciples took some food and remained at the house. The coffin was placed in the vault. The Lord taught until after nightfall. On the following morning He washed the feet of the resuscitated Nazor and exhorted him for the future to think more of his soul than of his body, and to restore the ill-gotten property. After that He called the children to Him, spoke of God’s mercy which their father had experienced, and exhorted them to the fear of God; then He blessed them and led them to their parents. The mother, also, Jesus conducted to the father. He presented her to him as to one returned from afar, in order that they might live together in a stricter and more God fearing manner.
Jesus on that day taught many things relating to marriage, in similitudes. He addressed Himself especially to the newly married couple. To Salathiel He said: “Thou hast allowed thy heart to be moved by the beauty of thy wife! But think how great the beauty of the soul must be, since God sends His Son upon earth to save souls by the sacrifice of His Body! Whoever serves the body, serves not the soul. Beauty inflames concupiscence, and concupiscence corrupts the soul. Incontinence is like a creeping plant that chokes and destroys the wheat and the vines.” These last words turned the instruction again upon the subject of vine and wheat culture, and Jesus warned His hearers to keep far from their fields and vineyards two running weeds which He designated by name. At last He announced to them that on the coming Sabbath He would teach in the school at Cedar, and on that occasion they would hear what they must do to become His followers and share in His Kingdom. He told them, moreover, that He would then depart from that region and journey eastward to Arabia. When they asked Him why He was going among those heathens, those star-worshippers, He answered that He had friends among them who had followed a star in order to greet Him at His birth. These He wanted to search after, that He might invite them also into the vineyard and the Kingdom of His Father, and put them on the straight road to it.
An extraordinarily great multitude assembled in Cedar to meet Jesus, who now began publicly to heal crowds of sick. Sometimes while passing among those that had been brought hither by their friends, He merely pronounced the words: “Arise! Follow Me!”—and they rose up cured. The wonder and admiration produced by these miracles reached such a pitch of enthusiasm that had not Jesus Himself suppressed it, the whole country would have risen in one sudden transport of joy.
Salathiel and his wife were among the assembly at Cedar. Jesus once more spoke to them of the duties of the married state, and gave them detailed instructions upon the way in which they should live together in order to become a good vine (that is, one that would produce pure and excellent fruit, such as would become disciples of His Apostles, saints, and martyrs). He inculcated the observance of modesty and purity, bade them in all their actions aim at purity of intention, exhorted them to prayer and renunciation, and rigorously commanded perfect continence after the period of conception. He spoke of the mutual confidence that ought to exist between husband and wife, and of the obedience of the latter to the former. The husband should not keep silence when the wife asks him questions. He ought to respect her and be indulgent toward her, since she is the weaker vessel. He should not mistrust her if he sees her talking with others, neither should she be jealous upon beholding him doing the same; still each should be careful not to give to the other cause for vexation.
They should suffer no third party to come in between them, and should settle their little differences themselves. He told the wife that she should become a pious Abigail, and pointed out to them a region suitable for the cultivation of wheat. They must, He said, raise a hedge around their vineyard, which hedge was to consist of the admonitions He had just given them.
Before leaving Cedar, Jesus gave in the synagogue another very long instruction, in which He again explained the connection existing between all the points upon which up to that time he had here taught separately. He spoke in simple, childlike allegories of the mysteries of Original Sin, the vicious propagation of the human race, their ever-increasing corruption, the dispositions of God’s grace and His guidance of the chosen people from generation to generation down to the Blessed Virgin, the mystery of the Incarnation and the regeneration of fallen man from death to eternal life through the Son of the Virgin. Here He introduced the parable of the grain of wheat which had to be buried in the ground before it could spring forth into new fruit, but He was not understood by His hearers. He told them that they should follow Him not for a short time only, but on a long journey that would end only at the Judgment. He spoke of the resurrection of the dead and of the last Judgment, and He bade them Then He related the parable of the slothful servants. Judgment comes like a thief in the night; death strikes at every hour. They, the Ishmaelite, were typified by the servants, and they ought to be faithful. Melchisedech, He said, was a type of Himself. His sacrifice consisted of bread and wine, but in Him they would be changed into flesh and blood. At last Jesus told them in plain terms that He was the Redeemer. At this revelation, many became timid and fearful, while others grew more ardent and enthusiastic in their adherence to Him. He enforced upon them in particular love for one another, compassion, sympathy in joy and sorrow such as the members of the body feel for one another.
The pagans from the pagan quarter of Cedar were present at this instruction, to which they listened from a distance. They had been very hostile toward the Jews, but from this time many approached them and questioned them in a friendly manner about Jesus’ doctrine and miracles.